There was plenty of anticipation leading up to tonight’s home opener, which also happened to be the debut of many new players for the Sabres including Jack Eichel, Evander Kane and Ryan O’Reilly. The crowd was buzzing as the 2015-2016 Sabres roster was being introduced.
Ottawa quickly took the air out of the arena as Kyle Turris beat Robyn Lehner 30 seconds into the game to make it 1-0. Buffalo struggled to get their feet under them and that would end up being the lone goal of the period.
The second period didn’t go much better for the Sabres as starting goaltender Robyn Lehner left the ice with a lower body injury. Chad Johnson took the reigns from there in his Sabres debut. Ottawa continued to control the play throughout the second period.
A turnover by Ristolainen lead to Kyle Turris scoring his second of the night. At the end of the second, the Sabres found themselves in a 2-0 hole giving the fans a familiar feeling heading into the intermission.
Buffalo came out strong in the third period. Eichel had a nice opportunity on the backhand early but was foiled by Craig Anderson. Midway through the period, Eichel got another opportunity on the powerplay as he received a nice pass on the door step from Marcus Foligno.
He made sure to bury it top shelf for his first NHL goal. Shortly after that, Evander Kane found the back of the net and the Sabres seemingly tied the game. However, Ottawa decided to use there coaches challenge.
After review, it was determined that Girgensons was offsides entering the zone and the goal was rescinded. Girgensons agreed in his post-game interview that it was a good call. Although he also stated he was unaware a coach could challenge an offsides.
The Sabres pulled the goalie with just over a minute left but Curtis Lazar put one in to seal it.
Eichel skated for 21:58 in his debut and came out of the game with a positive mindset.
“I think as a team we got better as the game went on. I think as the season goes on we will start to find chemistry.”
In the end, the coaches challenge paid off for the Senators and they skated away with a 3-1 victory.